March 29 (UPI) -- An environmental group in France has solved the three-decade-long mystery of plastic Garfield telephones washing up on northwestern beaches.
The group, Ar Viltansou, said plastic phones in the likeness of the orange and black comic strip cat have been washing up on beaches in northwestern France since the mid-1980s, but until recently investigators could only speculate as to their origins.
Ar Viltansou President Claire Simonin-Le Meur said farmer Rene Morvan pointed her toward a rocky cave where he said he and his brother had found a shipping container they believed to be the source of the cartoon phones decades earlier.
Simonin-Le Meur led an expedition into the cave once the tide was low enough and the group discovered the shipping container wedged inside the cave was surrounded by several intact Garfield phones, as well as some broken pieces.
She said the shipping container itself was empty, putting a damper on her hopes of stopping the phones from washing up on the beach.
"Our preoccupation was to understand why we had so many Garfields everywhere. We thought it would be helpful to find the container so we can stop it. But that was unfortunately not the case," Simonin-Le Meur told The Washington Post. "What we found was the remainder of the shipping container. And it was empty."
Ar Viltansou said it is still investigating the origins of the shipping container in an attempt to identify who is ultimately responsible for the pollution.